Global tourism has essentially ground to a standstill during the coronavirus pandemic, with several countries closing borders and preventing all non-essential travel. With vaccine rollout underway across the world, tourism businesses and airlines are hopeful people will soon be allowed to travel for leisure this year. As it stands most countries have introduced stricter requirements for people travelling, such as the need for a negative Covid test or self-isolation upon arrival.
But now there are reports even stricter measures are being considered to allow travel to resume, such as mandatory requirements for vaccination.
It is possible some nations will require proof, possibly in the form of a vaccine passport or certificate, that someone has been vaccinated against Covid before travel.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged this week the Government will review the potential use of vaccine passports in the future.
Mr Hancock told LBC: “There are some areas where we know it is going to be needed to have this certificate to show whether or not you’ve been vaccinated.
“For instance, international travel to some countries – if another country says you can’t come in unless you have the jab, then we want Brits to be able to demonstrate that.
“But then there’s wider ethical questions about the use of this certification.
“There’s some things where that might be okay, but there’s some areas where it definitely wouldn’t, so we’re going to have a review of that, consider all of the details, the ethics, which is very very important and challenging, and then come forward with a considered view.
“What we know is that we shouldn’t do this now, because only – I say only, I’m very proud of the fact a third of the country have had their first jab – but that is still only a third of all adults.”
Travel expert Neil Wright, founder and managing director of CoverForYou, told Express.co.uk Covid vaccine passports could have a positive impact on international travel.
Mr Wright said: “Vaccine passports have the potential to remove the requirement to either show a negative test or quarantine on both arrival at your destination country and also on your return home, which will safely free up international travel.
“Vaccines have shown to greatly reduce the possibility of transmission, so allowing those with a verified certificate of vaccination to freely travel will mean that any mutations of Covid will not easily find their way back into the UK.”
He added: “Europe as a whole is looking at the possibility, while Greece is actively pushing it on its own.
“Israel has already done vaccine passport deals with a number of other countries to enable safe travel.
“I predict that as the vaccine rollout gathers pace around the world this will become a feature of our lives for a number of years to come.”
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Which countries require a Covid vaccination for travel?
A number of countries are already issuing vaccine passports or certificates to their vaccinated citizens.
Several nations are also reportedly discussing vaccine passports as a requirement for travellers.
Some of the nations currently issuing vaccine certificates to citizens, or countries that will possibly require vaccine certificates for travel, include Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
Other nations opening their borders to vaccinated travellers include the Seychelles, Georgia and Romania.
Bahrain has also introduced a feature on their BeAware app which allows citizens to prove their vaccine status.
Additionally, in the future, all EU member states could require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for travel.
According to reports, EU leaders will agree on Thursday to work on certificates of vaccination for EU citizens who have received the vaccine.
A draft statement of the leaders video-conference seen by Reuters said: “We call for work to continue on a common approach to vaccination certificates.”
With discussions still ongoing, it is not clear when or how vaccine certification requirements could come into place.
European nations such as Greece and Spain are eager for the vaccine certificate scheme to be put in place to allow tourism to resume once again.
Earlier in February, Greece and Israel signed a deal to ease travel restrictions to Greece for Israelis with proof of a Covid vaccination.
Spain’s Tourism Minister has also confirmed a Covid vaccine passport or certificate scheme is part of the Spanish government’s plans to reopen the tourism industry in the region.
Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Reyes Maroto said on Monday vaccine passports or certificates, incorporated with safe travel corridors, are planned to provide “an element of safe mobility”.
She added: “We already have safety protocols in place but we want to take another step to help restart travel as soon as the coronavirus situation allows for it.”
Although some EU member states have voiced their approval of a vaccine passport scheme, other nations have also expressed concerns about mandatory requirements for vaccination.
France and Germany appear reluctant to endorse the measure, with a French official stating this week any requirements for a vaccine certificate would be “premature”.
Published at Thu, 25 Feb 2021 10:36:59 +0000